Water cuts for Orlando residents are necessary to preserve liquid oxygen for treatment of COVID patients, an element that is also used for water purification.
Water cuts for Orlando, Florida residents have been called for by public officials as liquid oxygen used to purify municipal drinking water is needed to treat patients struggling with COVID as it surges throughout the state. Orlando Mayor Dyer requested that residents immediately halt outdoor water use such as lawn watering, car washing and pressure washing.
This is such a priority that Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC), the regional water provider, is now implementing robocalls to customers that urge them to conserve water because so little has been saved. If greater water reductions are not quickly made by city residents and businesses, the mayor said in a press conference, that the OUC might run out of liquid oxygen and not be able to properly treat drinking water for potable use. The commission would then be forced to issue a region-wide boil water alert for all drinking and cooking purposes.
Landscape irrigation consumes about 40 percent of water that OUC delivers, which is fairly consistent with outdoor water use in many parts of the United States. The OUC is the area’s largest water provider that delivers about 90 million gallons of clean drinking water daily to approximately 400,000 people in Orlando and the surrounding Orange County.
Liquid oxygen is in short supply nationwide and in Florida as it’s used to help treat respiratory problems of hospitalized COVID patients whose cases continue to rapidly grow during this fourth surge. Water treatment plants inject oxygen to produce ozone gas, which oxidizes the naturally occurring but unpleasant color and odor in water extracted from the Floridan Aquifer.
This is yet another situation where the COVID pandemic has exposed water’s systemic connection to and problems with everything from supply chains to sanitation to water access and affordability. Water cannot be removed from social justice, health and economic well-being.